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The Selfish Genius; Dawkins and the Misuse of Darwin

Richard Dawkins' brand of evolutionary theory - which says that natural selection acts at the level of genes, not organisms or species - now seems to publicly dominate our understanding of what Darwinism is all about. His shoot-from-the-hip style of communicating science has also fuelled a growing but unproductive feud between science and religion. But does Dawkins give us the full picture? Does disagreeing with Dawkins necessarily make you anti-Darwin, anti-evolution or anti-science?

In this talk, Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker explores the historical, philosophical and scientific arguments that are beginning to show the cracks in Dawkins' thinking. Published in the year that celebrated the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, her book The Selfish Genius argued that Dawkins' way of seeing evolution - and indeed the world - is far from the only one possible, and that his popular image as the guardian of Darwinism in fact does it a disservice.

Elsdon-Baker, a rational pro-science atheist and specialist in the history philosophy and communication of evolutionary theory, finds Dawkins' influence distinctly worrying. She argues that Dawkins is publicly misrepresenting Science as a whole and by exploring the way in which we communicate science she asks is Dawkins really acting to popularise Science or to popularise Richard Dawkins?

Dr FERN ELSDON-BAKER is currently head of the British Council Darwin Now project: an international project celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th publication of his most famous book On the Origin of Species.



Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker | talks | www


Date and Time:

3 October 2010 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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